I’ve been looking forward to a new adult Judy Blume novel for 17 years. That’s how long it’s been since she wrote SUMMER SISTERS which I absolutely loved. She’s been busy as heck putting our books for young people, and doing a bang-up job of it. Just when I had all but given up on ever reading another adult book by Blume, IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT finally comes along.
Right off the bat I will say I am not a fan of the cover. To me, it seems like it’s advertising a humor book. I expected something more sophisticated, I suppose.
Blume uses true events from her life to propel this novel into existence. During 1951 and 1952 three separate planes crashed to the ground in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, killing not only passengers on the planes but, people on the ground. So she knows of what she writes. The scenes surrounding the crashes are horrific as I’m sure the actual tragedies were. But it’s the characters, and in particular one special young girl, Mari, who bring strength and meaning to the story. It’s Mari we care about, and Mari is the reason I kept reading.
The beginning of IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT is stuffed so full with multiple characters that it is impossible to keep them straight. Much turning back of pages and getting new bearings. That does even out about a third of the way through the novel. But, alas, I fear may readers will just give up before getting into the meat of the story.
I do see where Blume is going with this novel, however, it was not enough for me. I wish I could say I loved IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT, but, alas, I did not.
My review copy was sent from the nice people at Knopf publishing in exchange for an honest review. I thank them kindly.